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Why Companies Procrastinate When it’s Time for Training

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September 6th was National Fight Procrastination Day. And in true procrastination fashion, we’ve put off writing this blog until now. So without further ado, let’s talk about a case of procrastination you’re probably familiar with: why organizations wait so long to update their internal training materials.

Why Companies Procrastinate

Lots of companies put off updating their training even when they know they could get a better result if their training was improved. So why does this happen so frequently? Good training takes time and effort. Many organizations are fighting other, larger fires and training often takes a back seat to more pressing issues. Sometimes, organizations may not see the outcomes they want from past training and may be reluctant to invest in future training. Ultimately, something gets prioritized ahead of training for whatever reason and the training curriculum remains outdated.

Organizations may also procrastinate because they don’t have the resources on-hand: either in headcount or expertise. Funneling money into learning and development hasn’t always been viewed as a good way to spend company budget. This is because it’s hard to predict the impact training actually has on company performance.

Q&A: Prevent Procrastinating with these Solutions

Here are two of the most common questions organizations (like yours) ask before they update their training:

1.What will training really fix?

Everyone agrees your company training is outdated and deserves a fresh new look. But one stakeholder isn’t convinced that training is the answer to your problem. They argue that past training experiences failed and wonder, “What will training really fix?

Solution: Training, if done well, can change a learner’s knowledge, behaviors and attitudes as long as the training is designed to meet specific objectives. This is why we do rigorous analysis upfront to identify a company’s pain point, what the course/curriculum should lead to as an output in learning knowledge, behaviors and attitudes, and why content has to be specifically focused on those objectives.

We use the Wile Model with our clients because it can help evaluate what training could “fix” and be honest about the other outside factors that influence performance that training can’t always impact.

wile-model

Each situation is unique, and training isn’t always the answer – but we always try to help clients see where improvements can be made through analysis.

2. Can we create all of our training in-house?

You’re sitting in on a capabilities presentation with a potential vendor to create the outline for a new training curriculum for your sales reps. Your boss seems reluctant and thinks your company can create all the training in-house. They wonder if hiring an outside company is even worth the money.

Solution: It may be true that your company can take on the project in-house. And we can’t argue with you if you have the time, people, expertise, and software to do so. But rarely do organizations have that magical blend of resources ready to go to get the project from start to finish in a way that hits the mark.

Hiring an outside organization can provide several benefits to an in-house training team:

  1. This is our full-time gig. We do have the time, people, expertise (in project management, scripting, course authoring, instructional design, implementation, and previous experience), and software (cutting edge and handled by professionals). So if the client thinks a subject matter expert can do the same thing in Storyline that our development team can do, we show a few samples and explain what we did that a SME likely can’t do.
  2. If you have true training expertise, then we typically suggest we help create templates you can use. Often, in-house resources are pulled in a variety of directions and may not have the same time to devote to something that we do. So if we can start you on your path with a template, you may get farther faster.
  3. We bring a unique outside perspective. When in-house teams work together, it can sometimes be hard to sort need to know from nice to know because it all feels important. It may be harder to tell your coworker “no, that content isn’t necessary” than it is for an outsider to say the same thing.

Training isn’t magical. It isn’t a silver bullet to laziness or untrained managers, and it can’t help the employee (or manager) who’s aggressively opposed to the new learning solution. But hiring a vendor can relieve the already tight constraints of your typical corporate culture – people wearing multiple hats with little time to focus on developing their skills, or doing specialized work.

So don’t wait any longer to update your training. It’s time for your company train to leave the procrastination station.

How Microlearning Enables “Micro-Moments”

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Welcome back to our #BLPLearn blog series, where we offer a monthly look at design and technology as it pertains to learning and development. I’m your host, Jake Huhn—Senior Marketing Technologist at Bottom-Line Performance.

What are Micro-Moments?

There is a lot of talk in the L&D community about microlearning, and for good reason. But outside of the training world, the Internet is abuzz with a different “micro” term: micro-moments. That’s because back in 2015, Google shared a slew of new research about micro-moments. Much like in 2011 when Google pitched the “Zero Moment of Truth” concept, this new research sets out to be a game changer.

According to Google:

“Micro-moments occur when people reflexively turn to a device—increasingly a smartphone—to act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something. They are intent-rich moments when decisions are made and preferences shaped.”

It turns out that the research Google has done to help serve its interest in the marketing world is extremely relevant to our own industry. Our learners are essentially our consumers. That’s why “Learner Personas” (modeled after “Buyer Personas”) are such an effective technique.

What the research shows


micro-moments

The data surrounding this concept is compelling to say the least, and it has so many implications for the L&D community as we adapt to the increasing mobile landscape. According to the report, 62% of smartphone users are more likely to take action right away toward solving an unexpected problem or new task because they have a smartphone.

And here’s an even more incredible statistic, as far as training is concerned:

90% of smartphone users have used their phone to make progress toward a long term goal or multi-step process while “out and about.”

I encourage you to read through this introduction to micro-moments on ThinkWithGoogle.com. This has big implications for how we use mobile and microlearning in training.

Tying it all together

It is important for us to realize that these micro-moments are already engrained in our learners’ behavior. Many of these micro-moments happen on the smartphone, and the research shows that people are using them to solve problems, find information, and reach goals.

When done correctly, microlearning enables and encourages micro-moments. And since learners increasingly want and need a “micro” experience, mobile learning is no longer an option; it’s essential. Mobile learning solutions should be implemented not just because they are convenient or trendy, but because mobile is now part of everyday life. Your learners are the same consumers that Google is trying so hard to understand, and micro-moments are how they make decisions and seek out information.

Sources:

https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/micromoments/intro.html

https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/how-micromoments-are-changing-rules.html

http://www.forbes.com/sites/onmarketing/2015/04/09/googles-micro-moment-why-its-a-game-changer-for-cmos/#495cc30422b4

Using Design to Increase Training Adoption: This Month on #BLPLearn

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Welcome back to our #BLPLearn blog series, where we offer a monthly look at design and technology as it pertains to learning and development. I’m your host, Jake Huhn—Senior Marketing Technologist at Bottom-Line Performance.

What good is training if no one uses it?

Last month I talked about how the fundamentals of good design—Gestalt principles—could help improve the learning in your eLearning (or mLearning). But it turns out design can help with a much more fundamental problem in learning and development: adoption. All the time and money you put into your course is wasted if nobody actually uses it.


Want to learn more about how design can increase adoption? Access our webinar: The Mobile Mindset: How to Wow Your Learners.

I understand that there are certain elements of training you can simply make mandatory… but there are some you cannot. Take, for instance, support documents. We all know how helpful these can be, and how they can help provide that critical extra touch needed for retention. But when it’s the eLearning course that’s mandatory, you know employees have a high chance of just skipping over the extra guides and clicking through to the end.

What the research shows

I’ve come across some research that shows how good, clean design can help with a very similar scenario. Researchers at Case Western University School of Medicine decided to perform an experiment on the medical education curriculum, which includes a series of supplemental online pharmacology modules (“PharmWeb”) that run concurrently with the standard curriculum.

According to the authors, “Although this voluntary online pharmacology curriculum correlated with higher test scores during the formal, required portion of pharmacology learning in the curriculum, the utilization among medical students of the PharmWeb resource was low.”

They had a hunch that improving the design of the supplemental materials would increase adoption, and this is what they found:

“The modules were redesigned with a cleaner interface, and convenience of access to each module was enhanced by adding links to relevant modules within required, formative weekly pharmacology multiple choice questions. We report here an increased use of this optional online introduction to pharmacological principles and increased satisfaction in learning pharmacology that correlates with the design intervention.”


So what does this mean for L&D?

This means that, continuing the message from last month’s post, the visual design of your training can have a major impact on effectiveness. Whether it’s focusing on UI design—button placement, visual flow—or simply improving the spacing and alignment… it all makes a big difference. And now we have evidence to show that the impact of design happens before the learning even starts, because it can influence whether your learners use the training or not.

boring-elearning

This is an example of cluttered, boring eLearning. Not conducive to adoption at all.

better-elearning

This is an example of cleaner eLearning. Each page drives a point and an interaction, and doesn’t feel too crammed with text.

 

Here’s a practical way to think about it. When you’re designing your training, whether it’s an eLearning module or a mobile app, question whether the design feels overwhelming. Does there appear to be a sea of text with little whitespace? Are there multiple menus or calls to action that can get confusing? Or, an often overlooked aspect, how efficient is your code? Does it load quickly? These are all things that significantly impact adoption. Don’t send your learners running with bad design.


Citation:

Butler, Rhett, Peggy Kim, Marvin Nieman, and Amy L. Wilson-Delfosse. “Implementing Web Design and Usability Principles in Online Medical Curricula Is Associated with Improved Student Utilization and Satisfaction.” Med.Sci.Educ. Medical Science Educator 25, no. 3 (2015): 255-59. doi:10.1007/s40670-015-0151-5.

How Gestalt Can Help You Create Better Training: This Month on #BLPLearn

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Welcome back to our #BLPLearn blog series, where we offer a monthly look at design and technology as it pertains to learning and development. I’m your host, Jake Huhn… Senior Marketing Technologist at Bottom-Line Performance.

Let’s Talk About Gestalt Principles

Learning design and graphic design sometimes feel like two distant worlds. When you’re building a course—or working with a vendor—and you’re responsible for results, it can make graphic design seem like a trivial afterthought. You’re concerned with making sure every word is perfect, and making sure every step is explained thoroughly, and making sure you provide accurate definitions. Where’s the time to worry about how “pretty” that screen looks?

But I want to encourage you to make graphic design a higher priority—and there’s science to back me up.

Gestalt-training

It all has to do with Gestalt Principles of Organization. “The Gestalt principles of organization involve observations about the ways in which we group together various stimuli to arrive at perceptions of patterns and shapes.” [Gestalt Principles of Organization] These principles are essentially graphic design 101, and every designer should at least be familiar with them. And researchers at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia have shown how Gestalt theory can help improve learning:

“The new screen designs were then evaluated by asking students and others to compare the designs. The viewers were also asked to rate directly the value of using the eleven Gestalt design principles in the redesign, both for improving the product’s appearance and improving its value for learning.The evaluation results were overwhelmingly positive. Both the new design and the value of applying the eleven Gestalt laws to improve learning were strongly supported by the students’ opinions.”

These researchers aren’t alone, either. Other research has shown how these principles facilitate Visual Working Memory, an essential part of learning and other cognitive processes.

Implications for Learning Design

As a graphic designer, I gravitate towards how beautiful, clean design can improve learners’ comprehension of a course… but there’s more that Gestalt theory can offer learning designers. Gestalt is more than graphic design, it’s an entire psychology of perception—and it can improve more than just looks.

Consider what Gestalt theory teaches us about Similarity. Learning is facilitated if similar ideas are treated and linked together and then contrasted with opposing or complementary sets of ideas.

It can also shape the way you challenge your learners (think quizzing). “The Gestalt theory of learning purports the importance of presenting information or images that contain gaps and elements that don’t exactly fit into the picture. This type of learning requires the learner to use critical thinking and problem solving skills. Rather than putting out answers by rote memory, the learner must examine and deliberate in order to find the answers they are seeking.” [Gestalt Theory (von Ehrenfels)]

And bringing it back to where we started, the graphic design of your learning solution (the proximity of text to images, the negative space, the clean lines) is yet another piece of the puzzle when it comes to facilitating proper learning. If you organize your information and images according to these principles, your learning solution will look beautiful and be more effective.

So Take the Time to Learn About Gestalt Theory

I hope I’ve made the case that taking graphic design 101 can actually benefit your learning design. There is a lot of information on the web—from either universities or graphic design authorities—that can help give you an overview of Gestalt principles in design. A great starting point is this Designer’s Guide to Gestalt Theory on Creative Bloq. From there you can dive into the actual psychology and even explore eLearning Industry’s website for more industry specific coverage.

References

Chang, Dempsey, Laurence Dooley, and Juhani E. Tuovinen. “Gestalt Theory in Visual Screen Design: A New Look at an Old Subject.” Proceedings of the Seventh World Conference on Computers in Education Conference on Computers in Education: Australian Topics 8 (2002). Accessed March 27, 2016. http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=820062.

“Gestalt Theory (von Ehrenfels).” Learning-Theories.com. 2014. Accessed March 27, 2016. http://www.learning-theories.com/gestalt-theory-von-ehrenfels.html.

Peterson, Dwight J., and Marian E. Berryhill. “The Gestalt Principle of Similarity Benefits Visual Working Memory.” Psychon Bull Rev. 20, no. 6 (December 20, 2013): 1282-289. Accessed March 27, 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3806891/#R23.

“Gestalt Principles of Organization.” Psychology Encyclopedia. 2013. Accessed March 27, 2016. http://psychology.jrank.org/pages/278/Gestalt-Principles-Organization.html.

What Responsive Web Design Can Teach L&D: This Month on #BLPLearn

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Welcome back to our #BLPLearn blog series, where we offer a monthly look at design and technology as it pertains to learning and development. I’m your host, Jake Huhn… Senior Marketing Technologist at Bottom-Line Performance.

Let’s Talk About Responsive Web Design

As many of you can attest, it’s difficult to remain on the cutting edge of technology when it comes to training. Whether it’s resistance within the organization, or a limitation of your existing tools like a bloated LMS or ancient browser requirements. But you work hard to bring learners the best possible experience in the best possible environment.

Want to learn more about responsive design? Access our webinar: The Mobile Mindset: How to Wow Your Learners.


However, the best possible experience and the best possible environment are rarely one-size-fits-all. That’s what responsive design is all about. To better illustrate, here’s a quote from martial arts master, Bruce Lee:

“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”

Your design must be like water. Use fluid grids and flexible elements. Use percentages, not fixed sizes. Use media queries to read device width and adjust accordingly. These are the fundamentals of responsive design.

responsive-learning-design

What can responsive design teach L&D?

All of us in the L&D industry are striving to provide great experiences for our learners. My preaching on responsive design isn’t just about multiple devices. It’s about sustainability and adaptability.

How many of you are in the process of updating old eLearning courses because they’ve become all but unusable with modern technology? It happens all the time. What if we started planning for things to change, rather than just playing catch up? I’m not saying you’ll never have to update a course if you design it according to the principles of responsive web design, but I can guarantee it will be easier. These principles encourage design that is modular and flexible. Traits that go beyond just fitting different device widths.

Let’s Talk About Authoring Tools

Now I’ll relent from the sermon to come back to reality: much of eLearning is designed with authoring tools. Yes, you are limited by the tools. Some of them are starting to allow for responsive design, but it is hardly the cleanest code… and they’re only coming around slowly. That’s why I think it is essential for your department to start embracing learning solutions that don’t come from an authoring tool. I’m not asking anyone to abandon the tried-and-true… but to test the waters.

Here at BLP, we’ve developed several of these learning solutions already. Whether it’s a custom web-based application, or a website-type portal with multiple resources and skill-builders. The technology is out there, we just need to embrace it. You may be surprised at how efficient and cost-effective it really is… especially if your content is constantly changing.

That’s it for this month’s #BLPLearn. I’m signing off with this: Challenge yourself to break free from the traditional. Become like water my friend.

Take the Training Wheels Off! Learners Can Handle It: This Month on #BLPLearn

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For 2016, our #BLPLearn blog series will offer a monthly look at design and technology as it pertains to learning and development. I’m your host, Jake Huhn, and I’m the Senior Marketing Technologist here at Bottom-Line Performance. In our flagship post we’ll be discussing Minimalism as it pertains to graphic design as well as UI/UX design—and why that matters for everyone from instructional designers to training managers.

Let’s Talk About Flat Design

I was inspired to write on this topic by an article titled “Has Visual Design Fallen Flat?” (Read it here.) At first glance, this article will seem like something that has been shared a million times before and you’re sick of reading. Yes, flat design is here and will be here for a while. Minimalism is just flat-out appealing… pun intended.

But the reason I’m sharing this article can almost boil down to a single quote:

“Some claim the trend towards minimalism is a sign of more mature users: innately familiar with how to interact with UI’s, they no longer need to be hit over the head with obviously-pressable beveled buttons. The training wheels have come off, and so designers are free to express themselves stylistically again, less encumbered by the obligation to educate.”

Let’s Talk About “More Mature Users”

The author is completely right when he describes users as “innately familiar with how to interact with UI’s.” Make no mistake, that last line is not talking about educating like our industry does. He means we no longer have to educate our users on the simple nuances of the Internet.

People understand where to click by now. They understand exit icons and they understand the “Back” button. We no longer need to waste so much space and effort on these things—less cognitive load; more room for users to learn what they need to learn.

So What Does This Mean for L&D?

A whole lot. Let me explain:

Next month I’m going to be discussing the topic of responsive design—something web designers are already fluent in, but an area in which eLearning has a long way to go. Responsive design and minimalism go hand in hand. Have you ever gone to a website on your phone and seen a menu like this?

menu-icon-example

Try dragging the bottom corner of your browser window right now to shrink the width and that’s exactly what you’ll see. At 400px (give or take) wide, there is no room to simply write out every menu item… not unless we want to run our header halfway down the page. The icon you see above is a perfect example of how instinctive minimalist design has become. We all knew where the menu was, and if we didn’t, then we at least knew to click and investigate.

If we want to stay current, and if we want to meet our learners where they are, then we need to take the training wheels off. This minimalist mindset is the key to moving forward with responsive design and a myriad of other forward-thinking technology principles that our learners are coming to expect.

We have to believe that our learners aren’t Neanderthals when it comes to technology. No more “Click the X to the left to exit the window.” Only then can we come up with learning solutions that engage our learners and win their faith in what we have to teach.

With that, I’m signing off. Stay-tuned for next month’s post on responsive design!

Gaming on Twitter, the Ctrl+Paint Library, and Persuasive eLearning: This Week on #BLPLearn

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#BLPLearn is for our fellow members of the L&D community. We take the best articles and resources shared between members of our teams and publish them in this weekly post. We include commentary from the original BLPer who found the article to provide you with context on why we felt it is worth sharing out.

THIS WEEK’S ARTICLES

Now that introductions are out of the way, let’s dive in to this week’s articles:

Gaming on Twitter
Submitted by Corey Callahan, Senior Multimedia Developer  

Games can be anywhere. A core component of making an immersive game is storytelling, and the wonderful thing about storytelling is that it can transcend just about any medium in order to reach people!

Leon is an adventure game that exists entirely across a network of Twitter accounts and animated gifs.

It’s easy to balk at needing to create an immersive experience using authoring tools not intended for such purposes (think Lectora or Storyline). But this just goes to show that storytelling can occur regardless of medium!

Leon by Leon

Ctrl+Paint Library 
Submitted by Jackie Crofts, Multimedia Developer 

This is a great resource with tons of free digital painting, perspective, drawing, and composition tutorials and tips. If you want to brush up on traditional drawing skills or basic design principles, or learn a little more about painting in Photoshop, you can still get a lot out of going back and reviewing many of these videos, even if you’re a more advanced artist.

Ctrl+Paint Library

Persuasive eLearning
Submitted by Jennifer C

In kicking off one of my projects, I was surprised during the design meeting by how many “believe” objectives surfaced for each training topic. Usually, the “believes” are not critical to the success of the training. In this case, with a bunch of new sales reps, it seems to be more important.

Check out the link below, and let’s chat about how you’ve handled persuasion in your training!

How to be Effective at Persuasion for Learning

Placebo Effect in Video Games, Photoshop’s Hidden Gems, & Non-Linear eLearning: This Week on #BLPLearn

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#BLPLearn is for our fellow members of the L&D community. We take the best articles and resources shared between members of our teams and publish them in this weekly post. We include commentary from the original BLPer who found the article to provide you with context on why we felt it is worth sharing out.

THIS WEEK’S ARTICLES

Now that introductions are out of the way, let’s dive in to this week’s articles:

Placebo Effect in Video Games
Submitted by Brandon Penticuff, Technology Director  

Placebo effect alive and well in video games…

I wasn’t exactly surprised by the findings of the study this article is referencing; however, I did think it was a fascinating reminder of the power of persuasion and confirmation bias that is inherent in just about any interaction we have.

Obviously regardless of the outcome, there is an ethical component to any overt use of “placebos,” but perhaps indirect or implied use could be used in such a way to motivate learners to achieve more than they could without them?

Placebo Effect Present in Video Games, Say UK Researchers

Photoshop’s Hidden Gems 
Submitted by Ha-Trang Parks, Multimedia Developer 

Here’s a short video about Photoshop hidden gems I found on Adobe.tv. The one that impresses me is Photoshop’s ability to generate multiple images from the same layer just by changing the layer name. Names on layers are limited to 256 characters, separated by commas and with the file sizes specified. Simply click Enter after entering the layer names, and files are generated in different sizes in your folder.

Personally, I love this feature, and think it speeds up the process of sizing images…whether it’s used for web apps in digital publishing or print material. I know I’ve been sizing my images manually one-by-one, depending on what they are used for. Now I can just type in some names and voila…my files are generated for different purposes. Where else can we use this and can you relate to this?

4 Adobe Photoshop CC Hidden Gems

Non-Linear eLearning  
Submitted by Amanda Gentry, Senior Learning Designer  

How much freedom should we give learners to control how they go through a course? What types of courses or content lend themselves to a non-linear design?

Here are the takeaways from our discussion:

  • Experienced learners do well with non-linear courses.
  • It can be more complicated to design and plan non-linear courses.
  • Look for opportunities to let learners freely explore parallel content, even if introductory content is non-linear.
  • Give learners cuing mechanisms (like visited states) to show what they still have left if the navigation isn’t linear.
  • Optional advanced content can allow you to add articles or websites for learners to learn information that is beyond the scope of the course.
  • Non-linear course design gives adults the control they may be looking for – it isn’t just about increasing their engagement when they explore freely.
  • Motivation is not increased by more engagement.

Ideas for Designing Non-Linear eLearning

Hex Invaders, Expanding Your Thinking, and Avoiding Creativity’s Rabbit Holes: This Week on #BLPLearn

blp-learn-banner

#BLPLearn is for our fellow members of the L&D community. We take the best articles and resources shared between members of our teams and publish them in this weekly post. We include commentary from the original BLPer who found the article to provide you with context on why we felt it is worth sharing out.

THIS WEEK’S ARTICLES

Now that introductions are out of the way, let’s dive in to this week’s articles:

Hex Invaders
Submitted by Brandon Penticuff, Technology Director  

I love to find little gem games that combine classic arcade styles with very specific learning objectives. In this one, Hex Invaders, the goal is to teach how Hex Color codes (the core unit of color setting in HTML) work. It’s a simple concept, though I found it a bit opaque at first until I played it for a little while. Then the concepts started syncing in.

About the Game: Learn How Hex Color Codes Work by Playing Space Invaders

The Game: Hex Invaders

Expanding Your Thinking
Submitted by Michelle Eiteljorge, Learning Technologist  

This article is short and sweet, but I think the message is powerful. I think we have a lot of “T-shaped” people at BLP, and that’s what makes us unique—and attractive—to most of our clients. What do you think?

Expand Your Thinking, Not Just Your Skillset

Avoiding Creativity’s Rabbit Holes 
Submitted by Alicia Ostermeier, Senior Learning Designer  

We’ve talked a lot on our teams recently about planning our work. For instance, “What will I get done TODAY?” I’m often guilty of the “squirrel” mentality (getting distracted too easily). This article talks a bit about getting too consumed by the work. Which are you? What tips and tricks can we use to better plan and execute our work on a day-to-day, task-level basis?

Here are a few takeaways from our discussion:

  • Don’t let email send auto notifications to avoid distractions.
  • Use second monitor to keep email/Lync out of your immediate field of vision.
  • Think about how to manage overdue tasks. Are they dependent upon you or someone else?

Two Time-Tricks to Help Avoid Creativity’s Rabbit Holes

Classroom Gamification, What is Code, and Learner Engagement: This Week on #BLPLearn

blp-learn-banner

#BLPLearn is for our fellow members of the L&D community. We take the best articles and resources shared between members of our teams and publish them in this weekly post. We include commentary from the original BLPer who found the article to provide you with context on why we felt it is worth sharing out.

THIS WEEK’S ARTICLES

Now that introductions are out of the way, let’s dive in to this week’s articles:

Classroom Gamification
Submitted by Sharon Boller, President and Chief Product Officer 

At BLP, we focus a lot on learning games. We think less about how we can gamify a non-game situation. This wonderful article does a great job of explaining how to effectively gamify a curriculum. I thought it was the best description of elements to consider that I’d seen. The author is focused on K-12, but I felt her concepts were extremely relevant for corporate environments. She gets out of the box of thinking only in terms of points and badges and encourages consideration of other game elements as well – such as challenges, theme, and aesthetics.

I also had ideas racing through my head when I saw the gamification tool she referenced, which is called Class Craft. It was designed by a teacher for a teacher, and it’s very robust. I could see building a corporate version.

Six Factors of Classroom Gamification

What is Code? 
Submitted by Matt White, Multimedia Developer  

Stop! I know everyone is probably groaning after reading the title. However, this is anything but dry and boring. Obviously, it is a piece attempting to cover a pretty large subject: “What is code?” But, don’t be put off by the length. I’m not expecting everyone to read it and have a book club-like discussion. I just wanted to share and bring attention to a very clever and engaging piece of long-form writing. I say this because I have a hard time remembering the last time I enjoyed reading something on the web this much. The tone is humorous and packs a lot of information in a pretty engaging manner. Even if you don’t like the subject material, it still has a lot of neat things to discuss about what it does with its visuals and interactivity.

P.S. Scroll really fast for some amusing quips.

What is Code?

Learner Engagement in eLearning  
Submitted by Kristen Hewett, Senior Learning Designer  

Here are two quick articles/infographics on engagement. Take a look! Which tip speaks to you? What has been the most engaging thing you’ve seen or created in eLearning recently?

Five E-Learning Design Tips to Avoid Indifference in our Learners

Eight Seconds to Online Learner Engagement – Tips and Tricks